How To Calm Anxiety: Simple And Effective Techniques

Medically reviewed by Laura Angers Maddox, NCC, LPC
Updated April 5, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Stress and anxiety can be common experiences that may significantly impact daily life, potentially making it difficult to relax, sleep, and even eat. However, simple and effective techniques can reduce the impact of stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation, healthy eating, journaling, self-care, progressive muscle relaxation, and other strategies can be effective ways to reduce anxiety levels. If mental and physical symptoms of anxiety are disrupting your everyday life, you may benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional, who may be able to offer personalized insight and guidance. One way to connect with a licensed therapist may be to join an online therapy platform.

Explore simple techniques to improve your well-being

Mindfulness meditation to relieve anxiety

Mindfulness meditation is generally a type of meditation that focuses on the present moment without judgment. This technique has often been proven effective in reducing stress and anxiety by quieting the mind, especially during overwhelming moments. You can start practicing mindfulness meditation by finding a quiet space to sit and focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the sensation of air moving in and out of your body, and try to let go of any thoughts that arise. Typically, meditation helps to calm the mind and relieve anxious feelings. 

Deep breathing

Deep breathing is another straightforward technique that can reduce stress and anxiety. The concept behind deep breathing is typically for slowing your breathing and focus on each breath. This can have calming effects on the mind and reduce stress and anxiety. 

Deep breathing usually works best if you find a secluded space (such as a natural setting), sit in a comfortable position, and try and control your breathing patterns. You can take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale. You might find it helpful if you take these slow, deep breaths for several minutes.


Exercise can be be one of several natural ways for reducing stress and anxiety. Physical activity normally reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins, which can be thought of as the body's natural mood boosters. Exercise may also reduce blood pressure and provide a healthy outlet for pent-up energy and tension, potentially reducing stress and anxiety. It’s generally recommended to find an exercise you enjoy, such as running, yoga, or dance, and make it a regular part of your routine.


Getting a good night’s sleep can be crucial for reducing stress and anxiety. Sleep deprivation may lead to increased anxiety, irritability, and stress. Make sure you get adequate sleep each night and establish a regular sleep routine for controlling your body's internal clock. Aim for seven-nine hours of sleep each night and avoid screens and caffeine before bedtime to improve the quality of your sleep.


Healthy eating

A healthy diet can also play a role in reducing stress and anxiety. Foods high in sugar and caffeine tend to increase stress and anxiety, so try and limit your consumption. Instead, it can be best to focus on eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Social support

Having a solid support system can also reduce stress and anxiety. Try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will listen to you and help you through difficult times. Whether it's friends, family, or a support group, having people you can speak with can be incredibly beneficial during overwhelming moments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be defined as a type of therapy that may reduce stress and anxiety. CBT typically involves changing negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to stress and anxiety. With the help of a therapist, you may learn to identify and challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and productive ones.

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is another technique that may lower stress and anxiety by reducing muscle tension. PMR normally involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body to release tension and reduce stress and anxiety. To practice PMR, you can sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Start by tensing the muscles in your feet, holding for a few seconds, and then release the tension. Move up through your body, tensing and releasing the muscles in your legs, stomach, arms, and face. Focus on the sensations of tension and relaxation and try letting go of any thoughts or worries. Repeat this process for several minutes, and you may start to feel calm and relaxed.


Journaling can be a powerful technique for reducing stress and anxiety. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process your emotions and gain clarity and perspective. You can also use journaling to track your moods and triggers, as well as identify patterns and behaviors that could be contributing to your stress and anxiety. Try setting aside a few minutes each day to write in your journal, and be honest and open with yourself as you write.


Self-care is often a key factor for reducing stress and anxiety. The key is likely to find activities that bring joy and help you recharge and relax. These could include taking a relaxing bath, reading a book, or spending time outdoors. It’s generally recommended to make self-care a priority and trying incorporate it into your daily routine.

Explore simple techniques to improve your well-being

How online therapy can help you manage anxiety disorder symptoms

Online therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can offer numerous benefits for managing anxiety. CBT has often been proven as an effective treatment for reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. CBT usually focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to stress and anxiety. Completing this type of therapy online is often more comfortable for people with anxiety, and it can remove many potential treatment barriers, such as having to call around to find a therapist and finding a new location.

Online cognitive behavioral therapy can be very effective in treating a variety of mental health disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder. If you feel that you’d benefit from working with a licensed therapist, please don’t hesitate when reaching out.


Stress and anxiety can be debilitating, but there are usually simple and effective techniques that can help. From mindfulness meditation and deep breathing to exercise and healthy eating, many strategies can reduce stress and anxiety. It is often ideal to be kind and patient with yourself as you work to reduce your stress and anxiety. Everyone tends to move at their own pace, and the most critical thing may be to find what works for you. Additionally, if you feel like your stress and anxiety are becoming overwhelming, seeking professional help can be essential. Therapy, whether in person or online, may give you the tools you deserve to manage stress and improve your mental well-being. Take the first step in lowering your anxiety and reach out to BetterHelp today.
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